back to article BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

"I wasn't built for user support, I know that now," I sigh. "I know," the PFY replies, without looking up from his game. "At one time I thought I could do it but now I know I'm asking too much of myself. I don't like lazy people, stupid people or whiny people." "I know." "I can't stand tinkerers, tweakers, or people who …

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"I've seen someone handed a package for not getting the course. Three times."

Said package consisting of a trip to the front door accompanied by 2 guys from security, whilst carrying a small cardboard box of your personal belongings?

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That last line. Wisdom of the Buddha.

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“Because they're idiots, and the worst is yet to come.” Indeed it is, says I/US.

But the coming will not be as expected and projected by the MSM Mogul Machine. The Changes will appear as if out of nowhere and be both practically and virtually untouchable.

amanfromMars Jul 7, 2017 4:26 AM [1707070926] …… spilling the beans on http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-06/how-china-increasing-global-power

But you and I can't play. We are being played. ...... LA_Goldbug

Of course you can play, LA_Goldbug. The means for command and control of the memes are provided here before you and your fingertips.

Wwwidely shared words are easily able to both either EMPower or destroy Worlds and Wannabe World Orderers. And such is the Absolute Truth which Systems Administration are terrorised by and terrified of becoming more General Mainstream Knowledge. But one cannot hold back the tides and flow of truths and information which deliver both novel future derivative paths for present placements of greater intelligence.

:-) It is the Inescapable Disturbance in the Force which All Virtual Despots fear ........ for IT Robs Them Blind of Energy and Power.

Deny it and disagree if you will, but you cannot change ITs Path.

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Re: “Because they're idiots, and the worst is yet to come.” Indeed it is, says I/US.

But you just know that they'll nuke the site from orbit the moment they feel they've actually lost.

No-one wins the race to the bottom.

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Re: “Because they're idiots, and the worst is yet to come.” Indeed it is, says I/US.

No-one wins the race to the bottom.

Except for evolution.

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Re: “Because they're idiots, and the worst is yet to come.” Indeed it is, says I/US.

Not even that. Eventually the bottom runs out of higher life forms from which to draw their sustenance. Not even sunlight is a given if a cosmic winter hits.

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Thus is the great dilemma of IT support born

If you make changes without informing the users beforehand, good lord how they'll scream and wail and cry when the changes take them by surprise, wholly unprepared to encounter something in their lives that's slightly different from how it was yesterday. "How very could you?" they'll wail, "And just when I had gotten used to the old way [that I spend the past five months loudly complaining about]!"

But if you do notify them of changes being made, then... well, we saw here what happens, then. There's really no winning move, in this game. The only choice you get, is which way you'd prefer to lose.

P.S> Here's a ponderable, heading into the weekend:

Think Ars will ever add <blockquote> to the list of "basic HTML" supported by their ripped-from-the-1990s comment system? It'd be so nice to have properly-delimited indicators of quoted text, instead of having to play games with italics as most of us do. And if they don't ever add it, will I ever stop trying to use it every time I quote someone, just in case they've changed the system without telling us?

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Re: Thus is the great dilemma of IT support born

"Ars"? I don't even know where I am! (Hey, it's Friday. Morning! Early, here in the US.)

I meant El Reg, of course. And I apologize to all the limey gits who make this site go, for confusing them with the effete Condé Nast toadies who roam Ars' virtual office halls!

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Pint

Re: Thus is the great dilemma of IT support born

"just in case they've changed the system without telling us?"

Hmm, sounds like the definition of insanity to me mate

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Pint

Re: Thus is the great dilemma of IT support born

"And I apologize to all the limey gits"

Apology accepted, now find a decent pub that imports proper beer and have one -->

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Re: Thus is the great dilemma of IT support born

blockquote (no angle brackets included for parsing reasons, add to use) is available here in El Reg. However it's not available to all users. I'm sure there's some justification to excluding it for many commentards, I just can't think of it now...

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Re: Thus is the great dilemma of IT support born

blockquote works just fine

but only if you are a bronze or higher badge commentard.

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Re: blockquote

Think Ars will ever add...

Nope. They never will.

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Facepalm

A long long time ago...

I was working on the helldesk. We had a user constantly complaining about the performance of her (admittedly rubbish) laptop. Said laptop was plugged into a CRT monitor. As part of an office wide upgrade, one weekend we swapped her monitor for a 14" flat screen.

Cue an effusive email thanking us for upgrading her laptop - performance was "so much better". In fact we never had a complaint about the laptop again.

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Happy

Superb episode

The only reason I didn't spit tea all over the keyboard is that I had just finished my cup (an important precaution whenever I read the latest BOFH episode)

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Not just IT support

I had a complaint from some of the people in an office that it got too hot in summer and too cold in winter, so we got a builder in to fit some more insulation. I helped him a bit (ok, I watched) but it turned out to be much more difficult than we thought to get at the area concerned, so after a couple of hours of faffing about we gave up.

The office users told me some time later that it was much better now!

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Some monitors are just weird

As a photographer I'm acutely aware of the deficiencies in some monitors. The ones I use at work have an unusual issue, they look absolutely fine until you open an Excel spreadsheet. At which point you can't see any of the cell borders, the spreadsheet just looks like it's all been formatted with a white fill and white border. Move the spreadsheet back to the main laptop screen and hey presto, all back to normal.

The fix was to fiddle with the brightness, contrast and colour settings manually, but even now there are subtle differences between each screen. Doesn't bother me enough to worry though, I'm not using the work laptop for my photography. For that I use the custom PC I built at home plugged into a 42" HD TV :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some monitors are just weird

Sorry, but are your monitor properly calibrated? Within the limitations of each monitor, you can bring them quite close to each other, with the proper tools and skills, although don't expect a high-end AdobeRGB monitor being fully matched by a low-end sRGB one.

Usually, laptop monitors are the worst offenders because they lack proper controls for brightness, contrast and color temperature. High-end monitors with hardware calibration are the best.

Usually most consumer monitors are set for very high brightness and contrast, and also an high color temperature. Bringing them to more sensible settings for photo editing (100-120 cd/m2, 5500/6500K, depending on ambient brightness and a few other factors) scares some people in the beginning, because the screen looks much more "dull".

A 42" HD TV is the worst setup for photo editing. They are designed for video color spaces, a too low resolution, and brightness/contrast are probably wrong.

Anyway, the cell border disappearing may be a color issue, or a dpi issue, depending on the monitor, the OS and the version of Excel used.

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Re: Some monitors are just weird

Not that I'm particularly familiar with the eccentricities of Excel & co., but are you sure the offending monitor is being used at its native resolution - at as many hardware pixels it actually has? Because in my experience anything else is just murder on any sort of fine detail such as thin lines...

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Re: Some monitors are just weird

Gamma settings. Honestly most new flat screens have bad gamma settings from the factory. Took me months to figure this out.

No joke.

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Re: Some monitors are just weird

Excel not displaying properly (to the point of being misleading), Google (other search engine are available) "disable excel graphics hardware acceleration".

Get this a lot on all sorts of hardware (and Citrix).

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Decent boss?

"He's sick of users."

"I... is that news?" he asks.

Do they finally have a boss who gets them?

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Re: Decent boss?

if he TRULY "gets" them then I wonder how long before it becomes necessary for them to "get" him...

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Trollface

Re: Decent boss?

Not necessarily - if he's smart enough to not interfere, it could also be the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

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Pint

just in time for the weekend

Have one (or more, as necessary).

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So, so true

Perfectly encapsulates the experience.

Well done.

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So so true.

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Windows

You could try this

If a user reports any real or imaginary changes, I tell them that this is because Microsoft has just updated Windows 10, sometimes it's a good a reason as anything else, and it may be true. They are usually happy about it, or if they aren't I commiserate with them and tell them that there is nothing that we can do.

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Re: You could try this

And if it turns out he's on 7...or a non-Windows machine?

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And if it turns out he's on 7...or a non-Windows machine?

That's no reason to not blame Microsoft.

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Joke

Re: You could try this

@ Charles 9

Most of the people that I deal with who use Windows 7 are retirees, like me. They stayed with 7 because they don't see a reason to change, or they have heard about Windows 10 and don't want the hassle. In both cases, after the "forced upgrades to 10" stories, they would probably accept that a Windows 10 upgrade could cause a problem on their machine too....

If they are on a non-Windows machine, they don't have problems :-)

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LOL this reminds me of when our company moved to an EDS managed system with a SPOC at site to fix (basically log issues and replace broke hardware) stuff.

so I sent email to everyone saying in future (iirc was months away) saying when it happens you can't use work pc to do personal crap.

withing seconds I got emails asking about reverting changes that had not yet been made so they could continue on as before.

so I said sure to each person, as they emailed I replied ok your system should be fixed now. all replies said yes thank you.

course when we actually did migrate a few programs required by law to work on aircraft did not work and eds and cio were total dicks about it. so I ended up showing how their idiocy grounded a few aircraft, built up few laptops with no network and made the skin mapping programs work.

from one extreme to the other, unsecure systems to locked systems not allowing us to do jobs.

oh well.

got to tell vice president of major us airline his system was (this is direct quote) bullshit and whomever pushes it should be fined and lose their job.

all on conference call with multiple bigwigs.

and I was just a lowly mtx records clerk...I was pissed.

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WORD!

to your MAMA!

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Go

"There are no problems, only users."

A perfect mantra for an IT support professional. Should have it engraved on the door of the helldesk room.

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Re: "There are no problems, only users."

If you are sufficiently BOFH then, ultimately, there are no users

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Re: "There are no problems, only users."

Design ECUs, then the users won't complain. Stop working, leak oil, overheat maybe, but they won't call a helpdesk.

Ah the joys of embedded systems.

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Paris Hilton

This reminds me of the time I switched the office coffee brand.

For 6 months I was refilling the empty "Brand X" jar with "Brand Y", with nary a comment.

Then one day I left the "Brand Y" jar in the kitchen.

All hell broke loose.

(If I said "Brand X" smelled and tasted like burnt cat piss, you would all recognise a description of Nescafe, wouldnt you??)

Paris, she can always roast my beans.

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Devil

The best way to do that is to user lower and lower caffeine blends each time you refill until the office is running on pure decaf. Then late in the afternoon before you go on leave, refill with triple cappuccino.

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Brilliant LaeMing. Brilliant.

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Anonymous Coward

Then there's change control idiocy...

Up until about two months ago, I was certain to get whined at during our change control meetings when I needed to restart the email servers to make either small refinements, fix problems, or apply security patches. First it was 'why do you need to restart the servers?' (which had three+ months worth of OS updates that needed to be applied), then it was 'what is your backout plan' (for a system restart. SERIOUSLY.) and ending with 'well, how long will our users be down?' (the ~60 seconds or so that the client takes to reconnect to an active cluster node, which they would barely notice)

EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. And then people wonder why I have a huge amount of anxiety when I got into these meetings and am also super reluctant to put in any change request at all....

(anon to protect my pay check; I'm not sure who else at my company reads this site...)

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Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

I dunno, I'd definitely want a backout plan if I were bouncing a box after 3 months of updates with, one assumes, no test environment to make sure it's not going to wind up fuddocked when (if) it comes back...

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Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

The network team in my last place were down my team's throats for updating the default desktop image to the revised company logo without a CM meeting. A week later they upgraded a critical software stack without CM or any testing. No prizes for guessing what happened next. But I may award a prize for a guess at how long it took for them to fix!

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Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

5 minutes after the ass reaming by the CIO and I claim my prize. :)

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Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

Yes breaking the status quo for the embedded( even a millisecond) can cause extreme anxiety, fear, insecurity e.t.c . IT (the unknown whatever to most) should flow on forever transparently.

"just another box (with flashing lights;some times these are even noticed as well)"

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Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

(anon to protect my pay check; I'm not sure who else at my company reads this site...)

I think you should be safe. That probably applies to so many companies. Until the crayon departement has drank the kool-aid and everything is going "agile".

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Devil

Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

Ah but....

.... last IT change/outage caused the business headaches.....

so....

.... no more updates and the business is happy....

... until something dies/crashes/needs an emergency patch.....

... by then the system is so far behind in patching it needs months of testing.....

... which then causes the business headaches....

so.......

... no more updates and the business is happy.....

and on infinitum.....

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Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

Backout plan: It's a fucking cluster. If the updated node is fuddocked then you run on the other one(s) until you have the issue fixed. Once the updated node is working well, then and ONLY then do you update the other nodes with those adjustments taken into account.

VS the BA method of Indian remote management updating all nodes and then rebooting the entire cluster on the busiest weekend of the year.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Then there's change control idiocy...

Sounds like out change control board.

I was asked "Is there any risk? Can you guarantee the server will come back up afterwards?"

My reply "Can you be 100% sure that you will get home from work tonight without being hit by a bus?"

Cue long silence followed by a "Point taken" from one of the more senior members of the change control board

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Happily

My time on Hell Desk was limited. My employer concluded I was missing a diplomatic gene. Apparently a fellow caught my muttered remark over the phone when I finally dragged out of him the real problem, which was that he really, really could not put his hand on something called a "mouse." I choked I think. He was dealing with his very first Windows machine. Then I muttered something about a "rat."

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Re: Happily

I once called a particularly noxious user a 'brain-damaged redneck'. he was very upset, and sent in a formal complaint to the head of systems... me. i'd been on hell desk because three of the guys were out sick (gee, I wonder whatever could have caused that...) and the brain-damaged redneck failed to take note of my name. The formal complaint had very little to do with what had actually happened; I only recognized the incident because _I_ had made a note of the brain-damaged redneck's name, and, besides, I had a recording. ("All calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.') We made sure to record _all_ hell desk calls after one too many "who are you going to believe, me or some lowly IT monkey" incidents.

When no action was taken, the brain-damaged redneck went to the extent of calling a formal meeting on the subject. i played the recording of our little talk, and put up his email complaining, and let the meeting compare them. The brain-damaged redneck no longer works at the company. Word got around that there was a new sheriff in town, and hell desk abuse incidents dropped markedly.

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